“Tactically Engaged, Strategically Adrift”

“Tactically Engaged, Strategically Adrift”

G. Murphy Donovan

Presumption comes before the fall in sport and war. Trash talking never won a real fight in the real world. Adult leadership always matters.  

Success in sports, business, statecraft, and war is a function of quiet confidence. Gloating motivates the competition. An overestimate is a no-lose hedge. An underestimate is a fatal flaw. And if you’re in it to spin it, you are probably not going to win it.

At the moment, team America is losing five hot wars and one cold war, all in slow motion. Throughout, real and imaginary national security threats are obscured by political twerking.

Somehow, this ground truth is lost on the virtual generation of politicians, diplomats, and generals. Indeed, if you follow the national security monologue today, you would be led to believe that spin, propaganda, public relations, and bombast are substitutes for actual success.

Resume and juvenile twerking seem to be the new measures of accomplishment for national security professionals.

America might be bleeding, yet generals, for example, wear so much fruit salad camouflage that no one notices the hemorrhaging. Indeed, ignoring deficits and defeat is now a DOD meme. The Pentagon is a bull pen for oft promoted and often decorated underachievers.

Contemporary operational art, if it can be called that, is to do just enough to keep Muslim small wars going but never enough to win.

The only true victors in the matrix of military mediocracy seem to be Beltway bandits and the chaps who make and sell gadgets, bombs, and bullets to DOD.  Dwight Eisenhower is probably spinning in his grave today. Hot “long wars” and long cold wars are good news for the military/industrial complex. Not so much for the taxpayer or true security.

Few, at this point, can argue that Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, or Yemen are better off after American meddling. Let’s review the bidding.

Eastern Europe

The Clinton era campaign to dismantle Yugoslavia is still playing out. Civil war in the Balkans began with agitation in Muslim Kosovo which quickly escalated to other Yugoslav provinces. Pushback from Christian Serbs degenerated into a sectarian blood bath. The EU and America sided with Muslim factions, bombed Serbia into a cease fire, and the rest is history. EU and NATO helped to create two radical Islamic sanctuaries in the heart of Europe, ignoring the toxic record of Muslim fascism in Kosovo and Bosnia Herzegovina.

When an objective history of 20th Century Balkans is written, Kosovo and Bosnia Herzegovina will not be in the win column.

It’s probably no accident that the EU sought to dismember a former Soviet client state whilst the USSR itself was racked by political revolution.  NATO and the EU filled the Warsaw Pact vacuum by pulling former Moscow satellites into the Brussels orbit. Absent the Warsaw Pact buffer, Russia found itself with both the EU and NATO as hostile neighbors.

The Cold War with the Soviet Union, and now Russia, was never far removed from the turmoil in the Balkans. Say what you will about Vladimir Putin, but he has stabilized Rodina within. His pushback in Georgia and Ukraine is understandable too from a Russian security perspective. Surely, no rational Kremlin leader could let the naval and nuclear weapons at Sevastopol fall into the hands of neo-Nazi crazies in Kiev. 

NATO/ EU expansion eastward exploited a nation in transition, indeed, Russia under a hapless drunk. Putin is neither. Everything that the Putin regime has done since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been reactive.  The Russian border from the Baltics to Georgia is being militarized by an imperial EU/NATO, not Russia in search of another empire.

Putin’s celebrated aphorism captures the modus vivendi: “Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart. Whoever wants it back has no brain.” Unfortunately, Washington and Brussels demagogues don’t seem to think that Moscow has any legitimate security interests anymore, even on homeland borders.

These days, it’s probably not difficult for the average Russian to believe that the Kremlin is the ultimate regime change target for Brussels and Washington.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan began as another proxy war with the Soviets; an early clandestine success that morphed into a nasty guerilla war with the locals. The Kremlin was prudent enough to cut its losses in 1989. When the Russians departed, the Americans stepped in for a quarter century of humiliations. The Taliban (nee Mujahedeen ) now have a secure theocratic narco-state in most of the countryside. Sovereign Afghanistan barely exists outside of Kabul.

The Afghan War used to be known as the “war of necessity’ when bin Laden was alive. The 9/11 mastermind is dead now for five years, but al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS still flourish and one of the three is likely to eventually seize Afghanistan.

When Afghanistan succumbs, whither nuclear Pakistan?

Iraq

At the beginning of the Obama administration, Iraq was known as the “war of choice,” implying that America didn’t need to be there. After the initial Schwarzkopf  blitz of 2003, America is still in Iraq, albeit with fewer allies. Indeed, America, a “coalition of one,” is currently fighting its third Iraq war in 13 years. Iraq is now the DOD poster child for battle fatigue and mission creep. No end in sight for either.

Having reversed the sectarian poles, Sunni to Shia, and cashiered Saddam Hussein’s army; America now finds itself as a proxy ally to Shia Iran, mired in a ground war with a growing Sunni Islamic State.

Former Bath Party soldiers fight for the Levant jihad. After rearming Shia Iran by “deal”, America now sides with a Persian client state that one day may be the Shia counterpart of Sunni ISIS. Yes, Iraq and Iran used to be irreconcilable enemies. Naive American policy blunders gifted Baghdad to the ayatollahs.

The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq provided an opportunity for the kind of executive twerking that minimizes Muslim imperialism to this day. Team Obama mocked ISIS as the “junior varsity.” What the president failed to say was more telling.

Presumably, the Muslim “varsity” is the larger global jihad. According to intelligence estimates, ISIS alone now has a presence in 40 states and attracts recruits from 90 countries, including America.  And ISIS is just one of dozens of global jihadist armies, Sunni and Shia, with similar religious/political agendas. Islamist foot soldiers are supported directly or indirectly by both Arabs and Persians.

The blowback from three American campaigns in Iraq is now threefold:  ISIS, a Shite Iraq, and a new vassal state for Iran.  

The quagmire in Baghdad is starting to make ten years in Saigon look like money well spent.

Syria

Hard as it is to imagine, Syria is a bigger mess than Iraq, although it’s difficult to believe that either state will survive in its present configuration. Syria is the exemplar of “humanitarian” folly, although Libya might be a close second.

The Syrian campaign began as another anti- regime fiasco, underwritten by the simplistic belief that democracy is the default setting for failed Muslim states. Sovereign failure and collapse, alas, is engineered by sponsored assassinations, coups, civil wars, or “humanitarian” interventions.

The decades old campaign to unseat Bashir Assad has now degenerated into another proxy war with the Kremlin. In this case, Moscow has the moral high ground. Unlike American, the Russian intervention in Syria is at the request of the host. The Kremlin is actually defending, not destroying, Syrian sovereignty.

Indeed, the Russian Air Force, Kurd, and Persian militias seem to be winning in the north. If Aleppo falls, Russia and Iran will have scored a major victory over the Sunni jihad in Syria. If and when the Russian led coalition drives ISIS back into Turkey, expect John Kerry and Ash Carter to be the first to take a bow.

The valiant Kurds, unfortunately, are unlikely to benefit from any al Nusra/ISIS defeat in Syria.

The Kurds are the largest, if not only, demographic of genuine Muslim “moderates” in the world. Caught between duplicitous Turks and feckless Americans, the Kurdish quest for a national sovereignty is likely to be kicked to the curb by a US defense establishment that prefers to pander to Ottoman theocrats in Ankara.

The Kurd quandary is just a facet of the larger dilemma that dogs US foreign/military policy in the Ummah. Few if any Arab, Persian, or Muslim factions trust the White House or the Pentagon after decades of spastic policy.

Libya

Libya is another tragic case of regime change folly embellished with callous adolescent taunts. Once the most affluent nation in North Africa, Libya is now reduced to barbaric free fall and religious civil war. The ISIS “junior varsity” has more than a toehold in yet another failed Muslim state with oil wealth. Mission creep proceeds apace in North Africa too. US air strikes have begun in Libya - again.

With Libya, gloating reaches new juvenile lows. Mrs. Clinton twerked: “We came, we saw, he died,” after the sponsored Gadhafi kill. Clearly, the US State Department was driving the Libya putsch.

Post-Gadhafi Gloating

Mrs. Clinton was cackling an artless replay of Julius Ceasar’s cryptic report (47 BC) to the Roman senate: “Veni, vidi, vinci; I came, I saw, I conquered. The very phrase has come to mean quick, successful victory. The American sponsored implosion in Libya is neither.

Subsequent to the Libyan collapse, which included the assassination of the US ambassador, the then Secretary of State concluded: “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Assessing the post-Gadhafi meltdown in North Africa; President Obama trash-talked the misadventure as North African “tribalism;” indeed calling erstwhile prosperous Libya, another “shit show.”

Vulgarity is often the lingua franca for national security amateurs, as when State Department official Victoria Nuland chortled “fuck NATO” because some Europeans failed to endorse the US sponsored coup in Ukraine fast enough.

Yemen

The war in Yemen is another proxy fight, Saudi Arabia against Iran, Persian against Arab, and Sunni against Shia. In this case, America and England side with the Sunni. The wealthiest Muslim nation in Africa is trying to bomb the poorest Muslim nation back to the Stone Age.

Unaided, it would be impossible for the corrupt Emirates or a theocratic Saudi Arabia to fight their way out of a harem. The Saudi free-fire zone in Yemen is impossible without British and American weapons and munitions. Any moral argument about “indiscriminate” Russian bombing in Syria is undermined by the Saudi/American/British aerial blitz in Yemen.

A casual observer would be hard pressed not to see the Yemen and Mosul, Iraq fronts as distractions, if not diversions, from humiliations in Syria and Libya.  Lame ducks, seeking legacy, often morph into black swans.  

As we speak, the American navy is exchanging missiles with Shia gunners in Yemen. American and Iranian flotillas are doing a martial pas de deux at Bab al Mandeb, a maritime standoff that could go hot with a single stray round.

Cold War with Russia

Just as the Shia/Sunni rift underwrites much of the mayhem in Muslim small wars, civil and sectarian; the proxy war between America and Russia compounds Ummah instability. Kremlin bashing now seems to be a staple for both American political parties.

Anti-Putin Twerking with Pussy Riot

Much Russophobia is also a diversion too - or whistling in the dark. Picking a fight with Moscow, whilst Muslim small wars abide, is just twitch short of strategic insanity. Making matters worse, the trash talkers now accuse the Kremlin of meddling in American elections.

If the Russian FSB is capable of tampering with American elections, then the problem is the FBI and the National Security Agency, not Vladimir Putin. Russian and American Intelligence operatives do pretty much the same things, all of which are probably illegal somewhere. The difference between the two is that the Kremlin doesn’t seem to confuse effective tradecraft with adolescent loose talk.

If there’s a legitimate threat to the integrity of American elections from Intelligence operatives, the immediate danger comes from partisan American, not Russian, officials. Michael Morrel, former deputy at CIA, and Michael Hayden, former director at NSA, take a bow here.

And if America is as weak and vulnerable as officials like Morrel and DNI Jim Clapper claim; what does that say about the 17 plus Intelligence agencies and the myriad of DOD agencies that are supposed to provide security?  The problem with national defense may be the same as the problem with domestic social programs. Spending has been divorced from results - and solutions.

The only defense thread with a plus vector is funding, especially in the “wilderness of mirrors,” the Intelligence Community. National security today, for both political parties, is more business than security.

The more America spends on Intelligence, the less the White House seems to know about threats. Bigger Intelligence has never been better, especially if the need is objective analysis. The best technical Intelligence collection in the world is now undone by cooked books and asserted conclusions, especially specious analysis about Russia or Islam.

Much of the associated political twerking is a toxic remix mandated by Beltway thought police.  The worst invective is now reserved for “Russians,” when we actually mean the Putin administration. No such ethnic or national bias is permissible for Arabs, Persians, or Muslims where the preferred terms for culprits are undifferentiated euphemisms such as “criminals, radicals, or extremists”.

Or to borrow a gem from DNI James Clapper, Muslim shock troops and terrorists are called “nefarious characters.”  If you listen to the Orwellian verbiage approved by fiat for America’s Muslim wars, you might believe that race, country of origin, and political theology had nothing to do with the ongoing Muslim jihad or the larger “clash of civilizations.”

The Russian Shibboleth

The specter of the Russian bear haunts those many inconclusive Muslim wars. From Afghanistan in 1978 to Syria today, the perception of the Kremlin as a manipulator of dark forces continues to haunt the American foreign/military policy establishment. It’s as if all the baggage of the Comintern , the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact, and the Cold War were still with us.

Blatant contradictions abound. American foreign policy assumes that Putin’s Russia is Stalin’s Soviet Union. With Islam, a political culture little altered in 1400 years, we assume democracy follows autocracy. In fact, theocracy is the default setting for a metastasizing Ummah. And Russians, since Yeltsin, are models of enlightenment and democracy when compared to recidivist Persians, Arabs, and Turks.

After the Ayatollah’s revolution in 1979, the vector of Shia and Sunni culture is a race to the barbaric bottom, or the 7th Century, whichever comes first.

Russophobia in the West is now aggravated by Pentagon generals with political agendas. NATO and CJCS brass provide two recent examples.

Former NATO Supreme Allied commander, Philip Breedlove, USAF, was exposed, thru hacked emails, beating the drums for confrontation with Russia. At the JCS, Army Chief of Staff, Mark Milley engaged in similar chest thumping, claiming that Russia was “an existential threat,” a menace that the US Army would “destroy.”

Breedlove and Milley should be careful about what they wish for. Some sense of history might help. The Soviet’s did most of the fighting and took most of the casualties in the last European war. Today, Russians are no longer dependent on the largesse of Lend-Lease. And the Kremlin still has the home field advantage.

Russia isn’t Panama and the Russian Army isn’t anybody’s “junior varsity.” A cynic might conclude that the Kremlin shibboleth is not as critical to US national security as it is for DOD budgets and federal spending.

Efforts to separate Russia from Europe are not in the best interests of Europe or America in any future. Playing a highly personalized version of nuclear “chicken” with Vladimir Putin is not much of a game plan either.

Russians were an indispensable ally for the defeat of 20th Century secular fascism in WWII. Russia may have to play a similar role if 21st Century Islamofascism is ever to be beaten. Unfortunately, the kind of spin and twerking that characterizes State Department rhetoric has migrated to the Department of Defense.

Alas, trash talk and adolescent posturing doesn’t win cold or hot wars. American politicians and generals who can’t acknowledge failure are unlikely to recognize success in any case.

Martial malarkey is especially ironic because DOD is clearly subordinate to the cookie pushers at Foggy Bottom these days. Recall that the former CJCS, another Army general, Martin Dempsey, testified that he didn’t send help to Benghazi because Hillary Clinton at the State Department didn’t ask him for help.

Girls and gays with guns in the ranks is one thing. Girly men on the E Ring is another problem altogether. The mufti militia at the Pentagon needs to think long and hard about getting back to what real warriors do best.

What Is To Be Done?

Stand Up or Stand Down

The bell weather event of the 20th Century was the 1979 religious coup in Iran, the significance of which was largely lost or ignored by most observers under the smoke screen of the hostage crisis and Carter/Reagan era bumbling. The truth about the ayatollahs is that they played America then as well as they played team Obama more recently in 2016.  

The advent of Persian theocracy was seismic for two reasons. Religious rule was legitimized in an erstwhile secular state. And theocracy in Tehran, rule by clerics, provided both a role model and spark to the fire that still rages in the Sunni world today. Indeed, if you consult narratives for the period, theocracy and the Shia /Sunni rift are largely ignored. The headlong civic plunge backwards is still called, ironically, a “Jasmine Revolution” or an “Arab Spring.”

Alas, the subtext of the global jihad is religious war, an imperial campaign that targets non-Muslim infidels and apostate secular Muslims alike. Now that Shia and Sunni nuclear weapons are part of the equation, Koranic prophesy about Armageddon becomes more relevant to true believers.

Indeed, the “great game” in the Mideast and North Africa is not between East and West; the true nexus of jihad is the antipathy between Arabs and Persians, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Washington has inserted itself on the median strip between these 1400 year old religious road warriors. Before the Shia/Sunni rift is resolved, something more than American naiveté might become road kill.

The rationale for war is often the same as the rationale for the death penalty. Some miscreants are so evil; killing is the only sensible solution. America needs to acknowledge the primal threat of Shia and Sunni Islamism or stand down.  Half-measures and futile appeasements are variants of a death wish actualized in slow motion.  

America will not defeat Islamism alone either. A bloated NATO has done little or nothing to restrain the jihad. Indeed, the one unique European policy response to the Ummah hemorrhage is “open borders.” Who in their right mind believes that the answer to jihad and terror in Europe, or America, is more Muslims?

Non-contiguous Islamic nations do not accept Muslim refugees or migrants for good and prudent reasons. Only infidel morons invite ideological, religious, or kinetic threats into the homeland?

Pay and Play

America must insist that Muslims fight and finance their own wars, rescue their own refugees/migrants, and reform a toxic religio/political ideology tomorrow, if not sooner. If the Ummah is content to succumb to Shia and Sunni fundamentalist theocracy, so be it. A unified Muslim threat simplifies the targeting problem for any future “coalitions” that will have to deal with Islamic jidad.

NATO “partners” too must pay their own way and fight as required or resign themselves to the tender mercies of a European caliphate. The EU is already on a slippery slope if Brexit is any clue. Crash Islamization just accelerates the slide.

Humanitarian Intervention?

Social democratic imperialism, or globalism, is the single political canard that underwrites most recent American and European foreign/military policy disasters. Alas, justifying violations of national sovereignty with good intentions is a little like trying to rationalize rape as speed dating.

Unsolicited intervention is usually propelled by special interests, hidden agendas, or colossal arrogance. Armed assault is a hermaphrodite too; an “intervention” for the aggressor is an invasion for the victim. Worst of all, “humanitarian” intervention, as justified by globalist polemicists like Samantha Powers at the UN, is often a euphemism for coercive “regime change.” There’s nothing legal, democratic, moral, or “humanitarian” about any sponsored coup, insurrection, sectarian or civil war.

Nations are sovereign or they are not.

Recent evidence is conclusive.  Regime change is an act of war sponsored by naive nitwits who have no intention of winning the fight or dealing with consequences of predictable chaos.

The Virtual Illusion

If the policy, plan, or strategy is hair brained, tactics and operational arts are unlikely to compensate. So it is with fifty years of Muslim small wars where much American “combat” is fought by arm chair warriors in air conditioned aircraft, “situation” rooms, Pentagon suites, or mobile trailers. We are told that the American President personally selects drone or cruise missile targets. Small wonder then that American tactics echo round the world while strategy can’t find its big boy pants.

Virtual warriors are not unlike video gamers, nerds far removed from the blood and guts, but dangerous nonetheless. There’s little evidence to date to suggest that air power alone wins any war, large or small.

Indeed, precision guided weapons had little to do with big kills. Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and Muamar Gadhafi were all killed the old fashioned way, with boots on the ground.  An airstrike, unfortunately, seldom provides an opportunity for gloating or twerking.

Body count is never as important as bodies that count.

The bin Laden execution has become such a staple for political demagogues that a generation of children might come to believe that the Saudi villain was shot by Foggy Bottom fairies, not a SEAL team. The American State Department is fond of taking bows for the achievements of others and equally adverse to accepting responsibilities for any failures.   

New Alliances

If you compare religion, politics, culture, and praxis; there’s not much of a difference between the Islamic State, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. All lop off limbs or heads as public spectacle, each is the leg of a backward triumvirate metastasizing into the past in a quest for monolithic Islamic theocracy. Turkey is now a prime candidate to make the irredentist trio into a quartet.

When democratic socialists pander to clerical thugs, theocracy is validated. Freedom and democracy are thus suborned.  

After 50 years of humiliations, if not defeat, the much vaunted NATO and the EU condominiums have proven to be paper tigers. Europeans, again taking cues from Berlin, believe that Islam will be appeased if Muslim migrants are pacified with open borders, subsidized hots, cots, and unlimited blond girl friends. Most Muslim immigrants and refugees are single males.

Here again, history is instructive. When secular fascism threatened the world in the 20th Century, most of Europe rolled over, north to south, like cheap tricks. There were a few noble exceptions at the margins in London and Moscow that made a difference. Now that religious fascism again stalks the continent, the usual European suspects again play the catamite.

There’s no chance that America alone saves Europe or the Ummah from their worst instincts. Even Jim Clapper admits as much. Defeating Islamofascism will require stout partners. Few social democracies in continental Europe are up for that challenge today.

For too many Europeans, losing a war is the fastest way to end a war. Hat tip to Orwell.

If the conflict with Islamism is to be won, new thinking, less twerking, and new alliances are crucial. Any secular autocrat is a better ally than any Muslim theocrat. Russia and China are ruthless with home-grown Islamists. Moscow and Beijing have no illusions about the meaning of jihad and the threat posed by fascism, secular or religious, abroad or at home.

“Cowards die many times before their actual deaths.”

-- Julius Caesar

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Comments

If we were to consider the suggestion "tactically engaged; strategically adrift" from the perspective of, for example, Sir Rupert Smith and his 2005 "The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World," what might we find?

Might we find Smith suggesting that, today, the utility of force -- and the art of war in the modern world -- has (a) less to do with achieving decisive military victories and (b) more to do with establishing a desired political condition?

And that our 21st Century confrontations, accordingly, will tend to be "timeless," more political in nature, more as per "wars among the people" and, thus, based more on a requirement of "strategic patience?"

Herein to suggest (from Sir Rupert Smith's perspective above?) that while:

a. These such "establishing a desired political condition" efforts can, indeed, be seen more from a "strategic" perspective,

b. Those approaches -- focusing simply on "achieving decisive military victories" -- actually cannot? And, thus, must be viewed more from the "tactical" side of things/more from a "tactical" point-of-view? (Or, indeed, from the perspective of actually being counterproductive?)

(That is, unless such decisive military victories can be shown to be substantially contributing to -- rather than simply detracting from and/or actually undermining/torpedoing -- one's "establishing a desired political condition" strategic mission?)

The author wrote:

“Afghanistan began as another proxy war with the Soviets; an early clandestine success that morphed into a nasty guerrilla war with the locals. The Kremlin was prudent enough to cut its losses in 1989. When the Russians departed, the Americans stepped in for a quarter century of humiliations. The Taliban (nee Mujaheddin ) now have a secure theocratic narco-state in most of the countryside. Sovereign Afghanistan barely exists outside of Kabul.”

From what I can determine the purpose of this essay is to underline the lack of reality that plagues the folks whose job it is to shape our military policy at the Operational and Strategic level. IMHO the author’s rendition of ‘reality’ personifies the very shortcoming he rants against.

He describes an early clandestine success – I assume he is referring to the Mujaheddin taking Kabul, however he fails to mention the political collapse of the USSR is what delivered this ‘success’.

The author describes the conflict after the departure of the Red Army as a civil war. In the whole essay only once does Pakistan get a mention – and it is relegated to a possible future consequence and not the nuclear-armed COG that I and it believes it to be. The Pak Army began its UW against Afghanistan in the winter of 1985-86 (2 years prior to the Red Army’s final departure) when the Soviet’s told the Pak’s they were leaving.

We left not soon after, and didn’t return for a good 15 years. I know the ox is slow and the earth is patient, but that is a very, very slow ox indeed.

He describes the Taliban as “(nee Mujaheddin)” – once again in this description I see a dating error, an Operational delusion, and a Strategic misconception.

The Taliban are a post-Soviet entity, created in refugee camp Madrasas inside Pakistan from thousands of small boys beginning around about the time that the Pak’s realized the Soviets had shot their bolt. It took more than 10 years to bring this UW army up to strength. Whereas the ‘nee Mujaheddin’ was born out of a Resistance energy that emerged inside Afghanistan after the Shah’s overthrow by the communist Saur Coup in 1973, more than 20 years prior to the emergence of the Taliban as a strategic entity.

If you are hoping to shape an effective strategy you must recognize the implications of getting your historical references wrong by 20 years and more importantly the significant differences between the nature of the political energy that drives a UW proxy war and the energies that drive Resistance and/or Revolution.

IMHO if you wish to understand the mind-set that shapes effective Operational and Strategic Art you should listen to what those who have mastered it have to say about themselves ( and us ) in the shaping of the art of war. The Persians have been battling against the inhabitants emerging from the Middle East and the Sub-continent for 5000 years. Their experience in Small Wars predates Sun Tzu by several millennia and Judea/Christian/Muslim sensitivities even longer.

This long tradition of war-fighting cultivates a certain personality whose exceptionalism is quickly identified by their political elites. These individuals are nurtured and directed into the higher reaches of their respective military's, wherein their unique personality traits are put to use shaping effective military strategy. Unfortunately the lack of existential threats means our society has no such equivalent social mechanism.

Happily, for us these individuals have no qualms about telling anyone who will listen, how pathetic they consider our perfumed political and military leadership to be. To underline their contempt, they even allowed one of their retired masters to address the Oxford Union – check it out here.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/2015/03/pakistan-exportin....

Listen to it all, note the level of commitment their leadership has to getting the job done. The journalist attempts to fathom the depth of the well of cynicism the good General draws his determination from, by citing the murder ( by errant Talibs) of more than a hundred children at a school run by the Pak Army for the offspring of serving soldiers. Lt General Durrani barely hesitates before consigning the slaughter to “collateral damage” in the overriding strategy to ensure the “US gets its comeuppance”. Imagine a US General referring to the same atrocity against a school in Bragg or Tampa as collateral damage.

Also, note the contempt for religious and moral caveats when he has his LTG hat on and his irritation at the audience’s incredulity that his personal moral/religious values are a separate (and irrelevant) factor when matters of statecraft are front and center.

One thing I’ve just realized, some folks might think Durrani is putting on an act for the Oxford Union – trust me he is not. He epitomizes the personality that folks across the region believe should be shaping their strategic interests/well-being. To the uninitiated Westerner he might come across as character conducting a screen-test for a remake of Kubrick’s Doctor Strangelove - he is not but I fear many in our political and military do.

I suppose the senior officers on the Western Front, who considered several thousand KIA per day as acceptable losses (rather than tens of thousands), are the nearest equivalent our history may provide an insight into the type of mindset that shapes the military strategy we are currently attempting to counter.

One thing is for sure there are more than enough LTG Durrani’s in Pakistan, Iran and KSA, to ensure we continue to "get our comeuppance", make no mistake.

RC

Re: Strategy:

Consider the following exchange, between COL Harry Summers and an NVA officer after the Vietnam War, and see if this such exchange can help us gain a better understanding as to why the U.S./the West, today, adopted a more cautious, a more economical and a more long-term-in-focus strategy; one which (in stark contrast to our strategy in Vietnam?) is focused less on "battles" and more on "war:"

BEGIN QUOTE

"You know you never defeated us on the battlefield," said the American colonel (Summers). The North Vietnamese colonel pondered this remark a moment. "That may be so, he replied, but it is also irrelevant."

END QUOTE

We know that in the Vietnam War, our much weaker enemy employed a "political attrition" strategy against us; one designed to cause us to (a) continually increase our forces on the ground, (b) play "whack-a-mole" with them and, thus, (c) continually incur -- ultimately unsustainable -- political, economic, social and value "costs" -- and costs in "blood" -- that neither our populations, nor our politicians (given our nations' other priorities), could long abide.

In the Greater Middle East and elsewhere today, this appears to be the exact same strategy (political attrition) that our similarly much weaker enemies now appear to be using against us; herein, (a) adding such things as "terrorism," "hybrid warfare," etc., into the mix; this, so as to (b) goad us (into foolishness, excess, over-extension?) even more.

It is against this such "political attrition" strategy -- employed by our much weaker enemies again today -- that the U.S./the West appears to have, of late, adopted a "counter-political attrition"/"less is more" strategy; one that:

a. Seeks to defeat our much weaker enemies' "political attrition" strategy; this, by:

b. Employing our instruments of power -- in such a way -- as to allow that we might be able to stay on, and fight on, indefinitely. And, thus,

1. Not have to leave these fights (as in Vietnam).

2. Not have to leave these fields of battle (as in Vietnam). And, thus,

3. Not have to the leave the populations, contained within the nations therein, completely in the hands of our enemies. (As, indeed, was the case in Vietnam.)

Based on the information provided above to, thus, reconsider the thought -- the accusation -- "tactically engaged, strategically adrift?"

(Bottom Line Thought: In "generational" contests -- such as the Old Cold War of yesterday and indeed the New/Reverse Cold War of today -- one understands that "winning" is not something that can or will be accomplished overnight. Thus strategies -- developed, adopted and deployed in such times -- must have both long-term quality/focus and long-term sustainability/viability. "Containment" met these such requirements in the Old Cold War of yesterday. Same/same re: our "counter-political attrition"/"less is more" strategy -- recently adopted -- for the New/Reverse Cold War of today?)

From those SWJ commenters/readers who maybe have not liked my comments on "white supremacy and or ethno racist nationalism" called now "white nationalism"..this might help to explain why I am so adamant of being against it and why I see the threat of so called "populism" that Trump is deliberately using far more dangerous than anything IS can do to the US........this "white nationalism" is being pushed by the KKK...the 270 armed militias in the US....the 300 or so right wing media outlets and now the Brietbart.com which uses "alt Right" arguments..and which the new Trump advisor pushed...used and developed.....

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/%E2...cid=spartandhp

White Nationalism Explained...

NOLTICE the "alt right" disinformation alone in this article WHICH is pushed by the now Trump advisor......he claims almost 10M CS employees vs a real 2.1M......when will the voters for Trump realize they were led astray..probably never......

President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are drawing up plans to take on the government bureaucracy they have long railed against, by eroding job protections and grinding down benefits that federal workers have received for a generation.

Hiring freezes, an end to automatic raises, a green light to fire poor performers, a ban on union business on the government’s dime and less generous pensions — these are the contours of the blueprint emerging under Republican control of Washington in January.

These changes were once unthinkable to federal employees, their unions and their supporters in Congress. But Trump’s election as an outsider promising to shake up a system he told voters is awash in “waste, fraud and abuse” has conservatives optimistic that they could do now what Republicans have been unable to do in the 133 years since the civil service was created.

“You have the country moving to the right and being much more anti-Washington than it was,” said former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), a leading Trump adviser who serves on the president-elect’s transition team.

“We’re going to have to get the country to understand how big the problem is, the human costs of it and why it’s absolutely essential to reform,” said Gingrich, who urged Trump to shrink big government and overhaul the “job-for-life” guarantee of federal work.

Gingrich predicted that Stephen K. Bannon, a former Breitbart News chief who helped steer Trump’s campaign and is now one of his most influential advisers, would lead the effort. “It’s a big, big project,” he said.

The project aligns with Bannon’s long-stated warnings about the corrupting influence of government and a capital city rampant with “crony capitalism.”
Breitbart headlines also provide a possible insight into his views, with federal employees described as overpaid, too numerous and a “privileged class.”

“Number of Government Employees Now Surpasses Manufacturing Jobs by 9,977,000,” the website proclaimed in November. There are 2.1 million federal civilian employees.

NOTICE how Bannon uses fake news and false numbers to invoke class warfare..........meaning those that have jobs vs those that do not.....

I have read the author's previous SWJ articles and wondered at how such a biased man was promoted.

When he writes on the former Yugoslavia and I quote: The Clinton era campaign to dismantle Yugoslavia is still playing out. Civil war in the Balkans began with agitation in Muslim Kosovo which quickly escalated to other Yugoslav provinces. Pushback from Christian Serbs degenerated into a sectarian blood bath. The EU and America sided with Muslim factions, bombed Serbia into a cease fire, and the rest is history. EU and NATO helped to create two radical Islamic sanctuaries in the heart of Europe, ignoring the toxic record of Muslim fascism in Kosovo and Bosnia Herzegovina. Quote ends.

The fall of Yugoslavia was due to many factors, some deeply embedded in history and others relatively new after Tito's death. ALL of the factions, whether Christian or Muslim, or Croat, Serb and Bosniaks participated - again - in bloodshed. Sadly a minority in each has a toxic record and seeks to dominate today. Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina have a modern history of rejecting Muslim fascism.

Then he writes on Afghanistan. Quote: Afghanistan began as another proxy war with the Soviets; an early clandestine success that morphed into a nasty guerilla war with the locals. The Kremlin was prudent enough to cut its losses in 1989. When the Russians departed, the Americans stepped in for a quarter century of humiliations. Quote ends.

When the Russians departed the USA did NOT step in, rather it waved goodbye. Others, notably Pakistan, played 'The Great Game' in an already wrecked nation that engaged in a brutal civil war - which subsided when the Taliban was successful. Only AFTER 9/11 did the USA step in.

If the author can only see history through such blinkers and prejudices it makes accepting what follows difficult. Yes he does make good points in places e.g. Yemen.

David,

Your points are well taken, but these are the points from the article I agree with.
1. Gloating motivates the competition. An overestimate is a no-lose hedge. An underestimate is a fatal flaw. And if you’re in it to spin it, you are probably not going to win it.
2. If you follow the national security monologue today, you would be led to believe that spin, propaganda, public relations, and bombast are substitutes for actual success.
3. Contemporary operational art, if it can be called that, is to do just enough to keep Muslim small wars going but never enough to win. (By definition, operational art is describes how we employ military and other means to achieve political ends, so if we’re not doing that, then an argument can be made that we’re not practicing operational art).
4. Few, at this point, can argue that Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, or Yemen are better off after American meddling. Let’s review the bidding. (David, I disagree with a few of his descriptions of each one, but you already pointed those out. Still at the end of the day, with the possible exception of Eastern Europe are those places better off?)
5. Alas, trash talk and adolescent posturing doesn’t win cold or hot wars. American politicians and generals who can’t acknowledge failure are unlikely to recognize success in any case.
6. Stand Up or Stand Down. Halfhearted meddling only prolongs a tragic situation, wastes billions of dollars we don’t have to waste, and diminishes the reputation of the U.S.
7. Unsolicited intervention is usually propelled by special interests, hidden agendas, or colossal arrogance. (Especially arrogance)
8. Nations are sovereign or they are not. Recent evidence is conclusive. Regime change is an act of war sponsored by naive nitwits who have no intention of winning the fight or dealing with consequences of predictable chaos. (We don’t have a viable stability doctrine, we don’t have a viable military occupation doctrine, and our State Department is not manned do this, and even if they were, their naïve leadership and Congress would still purse the unrealistic “The End of History” vision of democracy and stability magically emerging from chaos). What do we really get from these events? Clearly we’re increasing the threat to global stability and arguably the homeland.
9. If the conflict with Islamism (violent extremists) is to be won, new thinking, less twerking, and new alliances are crucial. Any secular autocrat is a better ally than any Muslim theocrat. (History has validated this in my view).

Which of these do you disagree with and why?

Bill,

I will add my answer below each point:

1. Gloating motivates the competition. An overestimate is a no-lose hedge. An underestimate is a fatal flaw. And if you’re in it to spin it, you are probably not going to win it.

Yes, we appear to overlook at the strategic level, if not elsewhere our enemies ability to communicate. They are not "selling" a commercial product, they are offering a political message within Islam. Spin might work in some places, it does not work everywhere.

2. If you follow the national security monologue today, you would be led to believe that spin, propaganda, public relations, and bombast are substitutes for actual success.

Yes. Was it any different in the aftermath of 9/11? I don't think it was here after 7/7, but changed when we invaded Iraq.

3. Contemporary operational art, if it can be called that, is to do just enough to keep Muslim small wars going but never enough to win. (By definition, operational art is describes how we employ military and other means to achieve political ends, so if we’re not doing that, then an argument can be made that we’re not practicing operational art).

'Never enough to win'. I worry to be diplomatic that in the USA revenge and fear are high amongst the list of reasons why we fight. 'We' as the UK usually follows your lead (along with a hard core of NATO members, including France).

4. Few, at this point, can argue that Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, or Yemen are better off after American meddling. Let’s review the bidding. (David, I disagree with a few of his descriptions of each one, but you already pointed those out. Still at the end of the day, with the possible exception of Eastern Europe are those places better off?)

With the exception of Eastern Europe (now often re-labelled as Central Europe) there is some validity that 'American meddling' has not been good for the nations and their people. I write 'some' as many of those nations were already in a poor condition, let alone their peoples. The two nations with oil can hardly claim the proceeds were well spent. Afghanistan and Yemen I think I have argued are best left alone and history offers some support for this. Syria is heading that way sadly.

5. Alas, trash talk and adolescent posturing doesn’t win cold or hot wars. American politicians and generals who can’t acknowledge failure are unlikely to recognize success in any case.

Yes, our elected national leaders and military leadership have failed 'to speak truth unto power' and to us the public. They have convinced themselves the public neither understand, nor want to understand - which has some merit (a point I will return to). As regards Afghanistan I fear that the USA simply cannot exit for domestic and prestige reasons. One can almost hear "Who lost Afghanistan", although is that heard with Vietnam now? I doubt it.

6. Stand Up or Stand Down. Halfhearted meddling only prolongs a tragic situation, wastes billions of dollars we don’t have to waste, and diminishes the reputation of the U.S.

Revenge and fear meant containment was possible, victory was not once war commenced and some learnt to see through the "fog" what was happening "in country". 'Meddling' was almost conventional and fashionable - is it now? I have my doubts.

7. Unsolicited intervention is usually propelled by special interests, hidden agendas, or colossal arrogance. (Especially arrogance)

I have covered this already.

8. Nations are sovereign or they are not. Recent evidence is conclusive. Regime change is an act of war sponsored by naive nitwits who have no intention of winning the fight or dealing with consequences of predictable chaos. (We don’t have a viable stability doctrine, we don’t have a viable military occupation doctrine, and our State Department is not manned do this, and even if they were, their naïve leadership and Congress would still purse the unrealistic “The End of History” vision of democracy and stability magically emerging from chaos). What do we really get from these events? Clearly we’re increasing the threat to global stability and arguably the homeland.

The extent, depth and value of national sovereignty has always been in flux. Today it is under greater pressure, much of it non-military. Are we, the USA & UK, that stable today? Recent decisions by our electorates suggest "the times are a'changing". Here our national focus has shrunk and one can argue now better matches what we - the electorate - seek. Prosperity and peace, not constant, if not endless foreign commitments.

9. If the conflict with Islamism (violent extremists) is to be won, new thinking, less twerking, and new alliances are crucial. Any secular autocrat is a better ally than any Muslim theocrat. (History has validated this in my view).

In the conflict with Islamism we need new thinking to persuade ourselves we are right and our actions abroad are reasonable and legitimate. We constantly overlook Islamism has very few followers, kills more Muslims than non-Muslims, but many Muslims are angry with their world. I am very wary of 'new alliances' (is that a code for Syria) as a good number on offer are little more than thugs without beards. You can make an argument that our current alliances have proved none too helpful, Israel and Saudi Arabia come to mind. Any 'new alliances' must examine the potential for consequences at home, especially amongst 'new communities' and regionally as Daniel Byman's Lawfare article pointed out.

I came to these views by a different route to the author.

David,
He was promoted because he had a habit of being right. look at his credentials.

Ah.....an article right out of the "Post Truth era" that has a number of serous underlying flaws both in historical facts and current events.....and to tear them apart point by point is testament on just how far "Post Truth" has come since Crimea...no actually since Georgia and Moldavia.....

Just one of the comments that fully depicts the numerous biases of the author...biases that in many ways have actually contributed to our own problems more than the bashing of "other's are causing the problem....".

QUOTE
After 50 years of humiliations, if not defeat, the much vaunted NATO and the EU condominiums have proven to be paper tigers. Europeans, again taking cues from Berlin, believe that Islam will be appeased if Muslim migrants are pacified with open borders, subsidized hots, cots, and unlimited blond girl friends. Most Muslim immigrants and refugees are single males.

THIS single comment depicts a clear and present total misunderstanding on the German position on immigrates which if the author had done his research stems totally out of the single fact that at the end of WW2 Germany had JUST how many millions of Germans that were forced in ethnic cleansing out of most of the Soviet held areas of Europe....

IT is safe to state that what was left of Germany in 1945...it was a country awash with IDPs and refugees....most of them POWs...Jews....displaced foreign workers..and a bulk of the German population .....

BTW...there has been a recent German Federal Employment Agency report released that stated over 22,000 new reasonable paying jobs have been created in dealing with the large immigration inflow and another 12,000 are being estimated to be created over the next 2 years...INCLUDING a massive new number of teaching positions to handle the integration in the schools....AND that the monies provided to the refugees has flowed directly into the economy and is in fact acting like a mini stimulus plan........

Interestingly ...a lot immigrants...33,000 new jobs....MORE teachers which impact all parents....AND an economic stimulus....WE never hear anything about that right??? Ever wonder why????

AND by the way... a recent study of Syrian immigrants found them stating they found the German mosques to conservative for them and are creating their own "moderate led" mosques..WHY BECAUSE actually Syria was a moderate secular religiously diverse nation state...

BUT somehow that does not sink into the minds of many today and all we get is bottom line Muslim bashing...Muslim bashing...Muslim bashing...

The topic written on Syria...depicts a writer that is fully and completely misinformed on every aspect of the Syrian development from the first peaceful arising of a civil society demanding rule of law and good governance...THINGS we as Americans demand a government must provide...OR least that is what we demand...to now full scale genoicde

QUOTE:
Pay and Play
America must insist that Muslims fight and finance their own wars, rescue their own refugees/migrants, and reform a toxic religio/political ideology tomorrow, if not sooner. If the Ummah is content to succumb to Shia and Sunni fundamentalist theocracy, so be it. A unified Muslim threat simplifies the targeting problem for any future “coalitions” that will have to deal with Islamic jidad.

THIS is a great example of an author on a rant and a rant that is full of holes....

IF the author had actually understood the current US FP...it has actually been one of blocking the ME from taking a stand against Assad in favor of Iran and company...it has been a US FP to support both Putin and Assad in genocidal activities out of "fear of getting militarily involved"....

JUST as we have learned in eastern Ukraine and Syria...Russian "truth" is in fact when they deny something....

The author throws the term "Ummah" around to impress but does he truly and fully understand that in a religion that is far more diverse than say Christianity with no central figure say for the Catholics and competing Imams and Mullahs the author used term "Ummah" takes on a set of problems that took Christianity 1500 years to resolve and hundreds of years at war within itself.....to finally resolve....no he does not mention a single word about that one small problem...

Which during those wars featured beheading and or burning at the stake anyone of the "other religion"...

WHEN a author rants...then at least rant in a correct...fact checked way and do not stoop to "Post truth" rhetoric to present an argument...

WE have just had 18 long months of lies and more lies and more deceit and then piled on top of more lies...THAT were never fact checked....

AND this is what we got....

KKK leader openly praising the choices or national security and AG....NOT a single pushback...WHY is that?

Alt-right leader praises Sessions for AG, says white Europeans should be only group that can attain new citizenship.
http://wpo.st/ucWF2

Protesters target gathering of white nationalists in Washington: reports
http://reut.rs/2gwpxSY

This "geostrategic" thinking misses real foreign policy story of Trump: how kleptocratic ties might set priorities.
https://www.ft.com/content/782381b6-ad91-11e6-ba7d-76378e4fef24 

NOTICE the term "kleptocracy" was never used in this article...WHY is that???

We see now that when Trump rages into a twitter storm he avoids answering direct issues....MUCH like the Russians do when they deny something....like paying a 25M USD settlement on federal charges of fraud and criminal racketeering and it diverts from a story that he is overly charging and forcing diplomats to stay at his Trump Towers..sip Trump champagne and eat Trump sliders...and get sales pitches on his other Trump properties and YET we say nothing....

YET we seem to overlook a 2000 Fortune Magazine interview where Trump stated he envisioned that if he would run for President he could actually make money for running and being President...think about those words ....WHEN one hears from the FEC that he has been overcharging the RP campaign funds THREE times what the normal Trump tower rent is for one of his business offices in Trump Towers...billed as his campaign headquarters...

AND we are to believe him that when he places his businesses in the hands of the immediate family not a law firm and independent management firm HE is not going to talk to them about his business dealings.....come on get real...that is not how this man thinks and acts...

There is an old saying...before you throw bombs at others make sure you are in a safe place as they might get thrown back....AND keep that term "Kleptocracy" handy and let's see just how it develops over the next four years.

BTW....source of this article has provided actually a solid number of pieces of Russian information over the last three years.....

Putin and Trump Team have been talking for over a year, Russian commentator says
http://euromaidanpress.com/2016/11/20/putin-and-trump-team-have-been-talking-for-over-a-year-russian-commentator-says/ 

We debate just what the Trump RP will be...it is in front of our faces and we might not like what in the end in our names are being done as a FP...

Again a great "Post Truth era" article....that needs some serious fact checking...question is will anyone challenge via fact checking????

Actual challenge to the author..let's track every single FP move by Trump and then ask ...did it benefit the US and the US citizens OR did it benefit his business empire....think about it....FP driven by a "Kleptocrat" and his business empire..

NOW that is something to debate....

"... German Federal Employment Agency report released that stated over 22,000 new reasonable paying jobs have been created..... like a mini stimulus plan..."

The "jobs" that count are positions that directly create wealth. Bureaucrats don't. If growing the economy was so easy we could just raise all the gov't salaries or give each gov't employee an "assistant".

Poorly educated refugees who don't speak the language and land in a full out welfare state will be a drain on the host's economy for years if not decades. If "family reunification" of elderly relatives is allowed all but a few will be a burden for generations.

JH..this might and or not interest you...reference language......

In Germany to graduate from HS after 13 years it demands that all students speak a second language…English…Russian…Chinese …Spanish are the current choices……..

WHAT is the requirement for US HS students????

NOW to drive the integration of immigrants and the German society as a whole 5 German Federal States will introduce next year Arabic and Turkish classes for the JH and HS levels making them optional at first and then flowing them into the requirements to graduate…this is also being seen as a chance to make sure the immigrant children maintain their own native languages and BTW it increases the need for foreign language teachers thus driving more well paying teacher jobs...

AND what is the US language requirements for say JH????

NOTICE...over 1.2M refugees later the German unemployment levels are sinking at a rate never seen before in a rather short period since they arrived...unemployment level is now at the lowest level BEFORE the WALL came down 1990.

WITH the highest employment rate since 1991 AFTER reunification and millions of unemployed GDR citizens...

QUOTE
Although we expected last year's migrant inflow to push up headline unemployment a bit in Germany, the overall picture will remain remarkable.

KIND of kills all the Brexit and Trump arguments about immigrants.....

BTW...all those Trump and surrogate statements about manufacturing jobs coming back...get real....

QUOTE
Even in Germany the success of the manufacturing sector has not led to a surge in manufacturing employment, instead BMWs now made by robots.

German studies state one robot replaces on average 5 employees....

SO explain with major use of robots the employment levels are high???

IT's all about trade...trade...trade.....and more trade.....

THEN the US needs to explain why with the high German per hour manufacturing costs vs US they still hire and export????

What is amazing is that many in the US or elsewhere in Europe somehow have a picture of what Germany is and or does…especially when the term “full welfare state” is thrown around…..

If you think that living in a sports gym with 230Euros for a single person to a maximum of 450Euros for a family of 4 is “wealth” and draining the German economy seriously needs to sit down and do research into what is called the German “full welfare state”………..

EVEN Germans do not often qualify for so called “full welfare state benefits”…..in order to get those so called “full welfare state” benefits one has to completely open their entire financial history…their job history and be willing to accept any job provided by the Federal Employment Agency and or participate in job retraining in order to just qualify

Unless one defines “100% health care coverage” as “wealth” and getting tickets for clothing and books for their kids is defined as “wealth” and paying a small stipend for food delivered to that gym then your use of the term “full welfare state” is badly used and or completely false.

The comment that government employees do not create societal economic wealth flies in the face of pure economics….what is interesting is the overflying of the fact that employment is both created with refugees if done correctly and that even with low income Americans …..ALL of their earnings flow straight into the economy in order to simply “survive”…thus actually if one takes the time to analyze that cash flow ….it “contributes” to a growing economy for the rest of that society….

THINK about the math....take an average of 1.2M refugees TIMES say an average of 300 Euros per month is again exactly HOW MUCH flowing directly into the economy AND that is not a mini stimulus? AND that month after month...AND then the tax flows coming back to the government on that was spent as VAT is on everything including a lot of foods....WHAT is that per month...and what is it for the year in economic stimulus?????

AGAIN another mistaken and widespread falsehood about the immigrants currently in Germany…the German government has not decided whether to allow or not allow family members to join the immediate family members in Germany…trending to not allowing them as the long term goal is if peace is ever restored to Syrian then they must go home as they are under “war zone refugee status”….unless they can prove 300% that they were being threatened with death by the Assad security forces….

Lastly….there are indeed a high number of by themselves young men in the immigrants mix,BUT that is simple to explain if one fully understands the human smuggling business that even exists in the US….it is the young male that wants to immediately work to first pay of his smuggle debt which is right now at 4500 USDs from Arica to Germany and to earn money to send back to his family….

BTW....a number of these men have been arrested,, charged, tried and sentenced for war crimes committed in Syria as Shia mercenary militiamen so it is not only Sunni's in the business of jihad....

So when writing about German issues…at least get the facts straight as it tends to cause falsehoods to continue to be spread…

BTW…all refugees must attend mandatory government provided language classes IN ORDER TO maintain any financial support from the German government….and then be able to be provided job opportunities….

So when discussing Germany...I am here and more than willing to discuss Germany...

If your views are correct then clearly everyone should be clamoring for as many poorly educated immigrants as possible. They cost very little and create all sorts of good jobs.

Perhaps you should redo your calculations on what it costs the Germans (or any other western state) to actually take in people who don't speak the local language, have few usable job skills and no capital.

The idea that handing out cash is a "mini- stimulus" begs the question of why the Germans don't simply send everyone several thousand Euros and have a "major-stimulus". They could also forbid the use of machinery in landscaping and snow removal to create "good jobs". Think of all the people that could be employed...and all the great exercise outdoors in the fresh air.

THEN you really do not fully and completely understood the use of mini stimulus's as a way to balance the cost of something....noticed you did not do the math...the German government pumps just on refugee spending 300M Euros per month or 3.6B Euros per year and that is not chump change as a steady infusion into any economy....especially when it is spent directly into the economy...estimated tax returns and VAT is estimated to be in the range of 2.2B Euros...that does not count the tax income/VAT generated by say 35K employees.

Many commenters about the immigrant issues especially those that came to Germany are somehow forgetting the educational level of Syrians...a large number of those coming to Germany from Syria and we are speaking about Syria...are what one would call the Syrian middle class....small business owners, doctors, dentists, engineers of various directions and naturally ex army personnel with technical skill sets........

Problem for the Federal Employment Agency is how to qualify them for German positions that normally requires some type of certificate proof of training and most of their paperwork was either destroyed in the bombings or in the crossing of the Med or taken by the smugglers as a way to force them to pay them...and or does not match the German standard requirements...but in typical German fashion that now have a number of different work arounds....

Problem that is being seen is that yes they attend language classes in order to not lose their support but they immediately go into lower paying jobs simply to earn money to pay back the smuggler and get money flowing to their families..

Right now the government is trying to entice them into approximately 11,000 open apprenticeship positions available in say Berlin/Brandenburg but the basic stipends/monthly salaries for those positions are lower than what they can get for short term lower paying jobs and they tend to jam into a single day several jobs so they are making more than what the apprenticeship positions pay out...

Where the Euro is worth more than a US dollar basic math takes over as the main currency going back into Syria...

Reference the "costs" that you talk about....think it through...right now the German population is aging and aging quickly with a low birth rate and there is a an increasing shortage of workers even for the lower paying jobs...so even if the language courses cost..and the job training costs...and the support to get them into housing costs...WHAT you and many others forget is a German concept that they make money when you work via taxes and VAT.

They want you to work regardless of what..that is why the healthcare system is laid out to get you back to work and keep you healthly...in order to work...pay taxes and consume thus driving government VAT and tax earnings...

WHICH right now is literally raining money for the German government....

WHICH is directly opposite to the US mindset....

WHEN you want to talk about the "total welfare state" you cannot get by the German healthcare system that was implemented by the German King Kaiser Wilhelm in 1872 as he even then fully recognized the need to keep workers healthy for tax flows...SOMETHNG we do not in the least think about in the US system of healthcare..

WHAT is interesting in your comments is that yes the average German at first was rolled over by the immigrant wave and some pushed back BUT that was due to the fact that they was not a single government plan in place...when the Markel government finally caught up there is now a central plan concept and suddenly the public is not as concerned as those outside Germany. WHAT did not make the news in the States was the massive outpouring of free unpaid volunteers that are still supporting the immigrants...

Yes the right wing groups Pergida, AfD and NPD use immigrants as a vote getter but based on the latest polling this week only 18% of the German voting public and the voting public numbers are always high vs the steadily sinking US voting numbers..ARE willing to support "populist" groups/their messaging vs say France at 42% or Poles at 51%.....

It is interesting that populism never draws more than 18-21% in Germany and that it is the immigration that draws them...maybe one Hitler is and or was enough for Germans...

BTW...all the stories of increases in crime rates etc committed by immigrants is in fact fake news as actually Germans themselves commit more crimes per the same number of immigrants...

Something we in the US have never had to deal with...until the Trump populism and white nationalism.

The education level of Syrians? When exactly will a Syrian MD who doesn't speak German be allowed to practice? I presume German medical license exams are given in German. Do we care about the health care of the Syrians who stay in or near Syria either.

WRT to the "aging workers" argument for the immigration of poorly educated people the answer is in streamlined education, technology and culling government bureaucracies not having more people to make minimum wage. The ability of the well off to get cheap nannies or gardeners isn't necessarily a bad thing.

BTW..if you fully understood Germany....the economy...immigrants...and trade are all intertwined...

AND you do realize that with Trump pulling out of the TTP with Asia...Germany and the EU now have "full speed ahead" chances to do major free trade deals with most of the Asian market and China as they were basically "locked out" of the Obama proposed TTP.......

So you will be seeing in the coming years an EU free trade trading block stretching from Canada into the EU and then into Asia/China and association deals with Norway...Switzerland and northern Africa and the US is exactly doing what?...pulling out of everything ....make any sense to you??

Those deals should be closed out in the coming year and the EU will quietly be thanking the stupidity of the Trump administration in their move...a 500M person EU market linking into a several BILLION market place with virtually no and or little tariffs...and you want to talk about jobs.....

Trump in also not completing TTIP with the EU 500M marketplace which would have lowered tariffs and or cut them completely out would have driven US jobs...in an increased demand for US products.

So again even in the US....the economy....immigrants....and trade ARE all intertwined....

BTW....hope you caught the David Duke KKK leaders lashout against Merkel the other day on 11/22/16....WHY is a US KKK leader show interested in a German?????

From his own twitter account

Justice is coming for you --you know that right....

The Marxist Rat doesn't care one bit about White Germany

NOW what is interesting is that had the KKK leader been in Germany he would have been arrested...charged with a hate crime..fined...and then deported....BUT hate speech is not a federal law in the US...why is that???

Sad that he is not here....

AGAIN a serious and valid question to you..why is a US KKK leader even worried about Germany????

NOW we could get into a serious discussion not on immigrants but a growing US threat called "white nationalism" and or what some are also calling "white supremacy"...and Trump's chief advisor who is opening offices in Germany and France...Bannon...

THEN the comment by Duke makes sense....

Your shifting your argumentation again and not responding to facts....proven facts......you ask about MDs....then answer how is it that over half of all the UK NHS medical staffs are foreign educated AFTER learning English…..and the NHS would virtually cease to exist if they were forced under Brexit to leave the UK.....

Actually what is interesting in your comments…you bring up issues that many Germans really do not care about as they full and completely understand why refugees exist…many in the US seem to not understand just how they are created......

IF in a perfect world we could resolve say the Syrian refugee problem which seems to be the utmost concern or Americans….in a perfect world…easy to do.....simply toss out Assad which has committed countless war crimes and haul him in front of the ICC…then there would be no further Syrian refugees....as many simply do want to stay inside Syria but being bombed...hit with CW...or arrested and tortured is not an option for them...

BUT this is not a perfect world is it?

I can relate to this comment, "The American State Department is fond of taking bows for the achievements of others and equally adverse to accepting responsibilities for any failures." This has been true for decades, although it was/is more visible with Secretaries Clinton and Kerry. Some of their statements have simply been absurd.

Overall I agree with your main arguments, and may incorporate some of your points into the Strategy in 21st Century thread in the SWJ forum. The more I think about where we have been and the more I study, the more I think the basics of strategy have changed little. It is simply a lost art that has been degraded significantly by political correctness.

Re: Strategy:

We know that the strategy of the United States formally changed from:

a. "Containment" (of communism) in the Old Cold War to

b. "Enlargement" (of the number of the world's market-democracies) cir. 1993, and, for example, as per the following document:

https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/lakedoc.html

(Both of the above being seen as "long-term"/"generational" strategies?)

And we know -- as is acknowledged by the document next under -- that this "enlargement of the number of market-democracies in the world" goal remains our strategic imperative (at least as per the present government of the United States) even unto today. (In this document, note how the U.S. DoS actually "keeps score" of the number of market-democracies achieved since 1974.)

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/democ/

This being the case, then can we actually say that our actions in Eastern Europe, as relates to NATO and EU expansion, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Syria, in Libya, in Yemen, in Somalia (etc.,, etc., etc.) have, in fact, been inconsistent (in focus if not in results) with our such -- carefully explained post-Old Cold War -- "expansionist" strategic purpose (outlined above)?

Herein to note, for example, GEN Votel's recent thoughts on (a) the degree of progress that he and we have made in Somalia, and, specifically, (b) as per our such post-Cold War "expansion of market-democracy" strategic designs:

"They’ve got a long way to go,” he said. “It’s certainly not perfect. It is Somalia and they’ve had a lot of challenges for a lot of years. But, today, they’ve got an elected president. They’ve got a parliament. They’ve got a constitution. They are now establishing a national army. And those are all good and positive things."

http://www.tbo.com/list/military-news/gray-zone-conflicts-far-more-compl...

With this important information before us, now to:

a. Contemplate the accuracy of the thought, the accusation and/or the thesis: "tactically engaged, strategically adrift?" And to

b. Ask whether any of the approaches suggested, for example, by any of the members of President-elect Trump's new team; to ask whether any of these such approaches appear to be more viable (or, indeed, appear to be less viable/gravely counterproductive) -- this, specifically re: the "increasing the number of market-democracies in the world" strategic imperative that (a) all of President-elect Trump's post-Cold War predecessors have (b) all worked to achieve?

As usual Donovan is spot on!!